From when I was very young, I knew that I was different from my male friends, but I did not know why. I seemed to be more open and loving, I enjoyed shopping for clothes, looking to find what would suit me and then trying them on at home.
As I grew older I realised that I had an attraction to men but I hid my feelings towards men as my community wouldn’t accept this. Living here in Middle Eastern society, it was difficult for me to be who I wanted to be, as I was constantly told how forbidden it was and the shame it could bring to my family and to others in the city where I lived. I really wanted to live as a gay man.
In 2014, my life started to change as I moved to England. Step by step I came out with what I wanted to do here, the person I wanted to be and the life I wanted to live, really a life I needed to live.
But in some ways I felt more lonely and anxious. What would my future life here be. I suffered from anxiety and depression – missing my family, friends even I began to miss my old city and my childhood. This feeling made more want to become involved in modeling and the things I enjoyed to make me feel happy. I started to forget about my previous existence and to live my life without always thinking about my past and to start to sort out my future.
I remember standing in front of the camera for the very first time, worrying about how I looked, how I stood, how I held myself and what others might think of me. Would they accept me? Over time, I knew that if you want something badly enough you had to work hard for it. With help and with real friends who supported me, I started to feel comfortable about what I was doing.
I was so pleased and proud when photographers from Europe and the United States started to ask for me so they could photograph me. I gave them my best, loving every moment, as the artist within me rose to the challenge .
As the saying goes you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover so I believe you shouldn’t judge a person through their photographs. I have been modelling now for nearly 5 years and yes, I am a shy person from the Middle East but I love life.
I am happy. I feel more free, being able to be who I am but I do believe too often people think they know me and make presumptions about me and my life without even knowing me in person.